Pro Farmer's First Thing Today: Chinese Trade, Aid Stalls and More

10:13AM Aug 14, 2020
Here are audio highlights from around the ag industry, courtesy of Pro Farmer.
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Good Morning farm country. Davis Michaelsen here with your morning update for Friday, August 14. From Pro Farmer’s First Thing Today, these are some of the stories we are watching this morning:

After two impressive days of gains, the corn and soybean markets are facing some light profit-taking. Corn futures are fractionally to 2 cents lower, while soybean futures are down 3 to 4 cents. Winter wheat futures are fractionally to a penny lower, while spring wheat is posting similar gains. The U.S. dollar index and crude oil futures are both facing light pressure.

The Trump administration is satisfied with China’s progress in meeting commitments to purchase U.S. goods in a Phase 1 trade deal, according to White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, who signaled the pact will survive an initial review on Saturday. China “is now really picking their imports of our commodities — which is a great boon, by the way, for the U.S. agriculture and farm sector,” Kudlow told reporters at the White House.

Chinese economic updates released today were disappointing; the National Bureau of Statistics reported Retail Sales fell compared with year ago after declining in June. Expectations had been for consumer activity to edge into positive territory, but this did mark a seventh straight month of declines.

The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic continued to pressure the agricultural economy and weighed on farm finances in the Kansas City Fed 10th District. Farm income declined in the second quarter at the quickest pace since 2016, and weaknesses in both income and borrower liquidity were expected to carry into the coming months.

The Senate has given up on its August legislative session without any agreement on a new Covid-19 relief bill. The Senate is gone until 2 p.m. CT on Sept. 8, the day after Labor Day. But a session could be called before that if an agreement is possible.

Symptoms of anxiety disorder, depressive disorder, substance use and suicidal thoughts have increased in the second quarter of this year compared to the same period last year, with over 40% percent of individuals in June reporting an adverse mental or behavioral health condition, according to a report released Thursday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The results come as public health experts, advocates and officials have been sounding the alarm about the secondary health effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cash cattle prices marched higher this week, narrowing futures’ premium to the market. Domestic beef prices are improving after processing disruptions shot prices to record-setting levels. Lean hog futures were able to shake off a pullback in weekly pork export sales yesterday that included some cancellations by China. The cutout value has climbed a few bucks for the week. Cash hog bids slipped 17 cents nationally yesterday.

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